Westbrook Status Biggest Question
By Randy Renner
Will he? Or won't he? Whether Thunder All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook plays tonight against Dallas or tomorrow night in Chicago against the Bulls is the question of the day.
Yesterday Thunder head coach Scott Brooks told reporters, "there's going to be some back-to-backs he's not going to play."
OKC has six sets of back-to-back games to finish the season beginning tonight with the Mavs and tomorrow night with the Bulls.
Brooks declined to say yesterday which game (if either) Westbrook would miss, "I'll let you know at the appropriate time."
Brooks will meet with the media at 4:15 this afternoon and could reveal his plans then or could even wait a bit later when he has to post his starting lineup.
Westbrook has been outstanding since coming back from his third knee surgery. In 10 starts he's averaged 22.0 points, 7.5 assists, 4.9 rebounds and 2.6 steals in 26.7 minutes of playing time. He's also shooting 46.7 percent overall and 42.3 percent on threes.
Team sources say Westbrook has not been bother by swelling and his conditioning is fine now after 10 games back. So Brooks and the team have decided to continue following the original plan put in place for Westbrook's return.
"We had a plan in place early on and we wanna stick to that," Brooks said yesterday. "We just want to get some time where he can rest in between games."
So it's possible, though not likely, that Westbrook could miss six of OKC's final 17 games of the regular season.
Brooks did reveal what will happen tonight with another position on the floor, rookie Andre Roberson will get his second straight start and sixth of the season at shooting guard filling in for the injured Thabo Sefolosha.
"I thought he did a good job last game (against the Lakers and Jodie Meeks) Brooks said, "But he definitely has a pretty strong player he'll have to guard (tonight)."
Roberson will try to slow down Mavs leading scorer Monta Ellis tonight. Ellis is averaging 18.8 points.
"He's a strong right-hand driver, plays aggressive and shoots the mid-range jumper very well," Roberson said of Ellis.
Thursday night against the Lakers the Thunder became the first NBA team this season to have a starting lineup madeup totally of players that team drafted. It will happen again tonight whether Westbrook or Reggie Jackson gets the start at point guard.
- The Thunder will be trying to sweep this current three game homestand tonight and they've beaten the Mavs 11 straight times (including playoffs).
- Kevin Durant has scored at least 25 points in 30 straight games, that's the longest such streak of his career and the longest in the NBA since Michael Jordan put together a 40 game streak in the 1986-87 season.
- Mavs forward Vince Carter is just eight points shy of 23,000 for his career. He would be the 27th player in the NBA to reach that milestone.
- Dallas has won three of four but right before that had lost three straight games.
- The Mavs are coming off a season-high 62 percent shooting night at Utah or March 12th. Dallas hasn't played a game since and in games following at least two days rest Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 25 points. He scored 31 in that game at Utah.
- The Thunder are 11-3 this season in games played on Sundays.
Tipoff is at 6 o'clock and our Thunder Tipoff blog will be posted about an hour before with the latest word on Westbrook's playing status. Our Gameday Photo Gallery will be live during the game and our cameras will be in the lockerroom to get reaction afterwards.